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400-year-old Hong Kong banyan tree to be chopped down

Published on Aug 23, 2013 4:55 PM
 
A 400-year-old banyan tree in Hong Kong (above) will be cut down, authorities said on Friday, Aug 23, 2013, after being hit by a fungal disease brought on when a park development starved its roots of oxygen and nutrients. -- PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (AFP) - A 400-year-old banyan tree in Hong Kong will be cut down, authorities said on Friday, after being hit by a fungal disease brought on when a park development starved its roots of oxygen and nutrients.

Nestled in the heart of the city in Kowloon Park, the tree, Hong Kong's oldest Chinese banyan, has been infected with the deadly brown root rot disease that authorities fear could spread to others nearby.

A third of the tree collapsed in a 2007 typhoon, but the enormity of it still amazes passersby as they walk near its towering trunk, 22 metres high with a crown spread of 27 metres.

"No other banyan tree was as old as this one, none was as big as this one," the chair of Hong Kong University geography department Jim Chi Yung told AFP, explaining that it had existed during the time of the Qing Dynasty.

 
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